He­lena striv­ing to be­come au­thor of her own destiny

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

WHILE most of her peers are tak­ing some much-needed time off in prepa­ra­tion for Sixth Year, the Leav­ing Cert and all that en­tails, He­lena Brady (17) is em­bark­ing upon what she hopes will be the first chap­ter in a lengthy and suc­cess­ful ca­reer.

Tonight (Wed­nes­day, July 31), the Ballinstoe teenager of­fi­cially launches her first novel at an in­ti­mate gath­er­ing in The Hot Spot. En­ti­tled ‘The Se­crets of the For­est’, He­lena’s de­but work is a para­nor­mal fan­tasy which tells the story of Sarah-Rose, a woman drawn to a mys­te­ri­ous for­est de­spite the dan­gers which lurk within.

Re­leased by UK pub­lish­ing house Austin Ma­cauley’s ‘The Se­crets of the For­est’ is just one of a num­ber of works He­lena cur­rently has in the pipeline, but hold­ing her first book in her hands was the cul­mi­na­tion of a life­long dream.

‘I started writ­ing it when I was 14. I had my idea, so I worked on de­vel­op­ing it into what would even­tu­ally be­come my de­but novel. It took about 18 months to get a pub­lisher, it was amaz­ing when we got the physical copies of the book,’ she said.

Even more amaz­ing is that very few peo­ple knew that He­lena had begun writ­ing se­ri­ously, most only find­ing out when she ca­su­ally in­formed them she had com­pleted her first novel.

‘We didn’t even know she’d writ­ten it,’ said He­lena’s mother Julie-Ann. ‘There’s a few mu­si­cians in the fam­ily, so there is a creative el­e­ment there. But it’s sur­real re­ally when you think of what she’s done. She was hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one the other day and said some­thing like, “oh my pub­lisher mailed me the other day.” It was such a strange mo­ment.’

As soon as He­lena had fin­ished ‘The Se­crets of the For­est’ she be­gan work­ing on fur­ther nov­els, and such was her ded­i­ca­tion to her craft that by the time she’d ac­quired a pub­lish­ing deal for her first book she’d al­ready writ­ten two more. In to­tal she has writ­ten five other, un­pub­lished, nov­els and con­tin­ues to work on more.

A stu­dent at Loreta Sec­ondary School in Bray, He­lena has had to bal­ance her pas­sion for writ­ing with her stud­ies, a chal­lenge which she’s thus far man­aged to over­come.

‘It was hard to com­bine the two, es­pe­cially in fifth year when it’s study, study, study. But any chance I got I was on my lap­top and writ­ing. My friends think its re­ally cool,’ she ex­plains.

De­scribed by her mother as a ‘quiet per­son who doesn’t like putting her­self out there’, He­lena was sub­se­quently nom­i­nated for a Garda Youth Award, an award which she won at a cer­e­mony in May of this year.

In ad­di­tion, through her involvemen­t with Fight­ing Words - a young writ­ers’ group in Bray - one of He­lena’s short sto­ries was cho­sen to ap­pear in a book fea­tur­ing the best works from young writ­ers across the na­tion.

Yet she re­mains hum­ble and down-to-earth, her only fo­cus on con­tin­u­ing what she’s started and ful­fill­ing her goal of do­ing what she loves for a liv­ing.

‘My dream is to be­come a full­time au­thor, that’s the ul­ti­mate goal,’ she says. ‘In terms of au­di­ence I think peo­ple aged 16 or over should en­joy ‘The Se­crets of the For­est’, it’s not re­ally for younger teenagers. Peo­ple who like reading Holly Black should like it.’

He­lena Brady’s de­but novel ‘The Se­cret of the For­est’ is now avail­able to pur­chase on­line, in Water­stones and in other se­lected stores.

He­lena Brady with her de­but novel, ‘The Se­crets of the For­est’.

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